home
RSS
Why our noses are different shapes
Left: The nasal bone structure of a person of African origin. Right: Nose of a person of European origin.
March 20th, 2013
12:06 PM ET

Why our noses are different shapes

There are pouches on each side of the human nose below the eyes that are called maxillary sinuses. They're involved in sinus infections, so you may already have a bias against them.

But Nathan Holton, a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of orthodontics at the University of Iowa, wanted to find out why there's such variation in these structures, and how they are affected by variation in the nasal cavity. A study on the subject is published in the journal The Anatomical Record.

Holton and colleagues took computed tomography scans of 40 people. About half of them were European-Americans, and the other half were African-Americans or native South Africans.

They found that the bigger the volume of the nasal cavity, the bigger the maxillary sinuses, in both populations. This is also associated with the overall face size, the researchers said, and suggests that the maxillary sinuses play a role in allowing the nose shape to vary. It appears that the sinuses make room for the nose.

But when the face size is about the same, maxillary sinuses tended to be 36% larger in people of European ancestry than of African ancestry because Europeans tend to have narrower nose shapes.

The various shapes of noses appear to be tied to adaptations to climate, Holton said. The nose must properly heat and humidify the air that you breathe. In a cold climate, it's advantageous to have a narrower nose. That's so that when a person inhales, more air comes into contact with the mucosal surface of nose, which provides moisture. The narrow nose maximizes the surface area.

"The fact that we have sinuses seems to allow for this accommodation of variation in nasal shape, which seems to be important, in evolutionary terms, with regard to climatic adaptation," Holton said.

The maxillary sinuses probably do not serve an important purpose in terms of nasal respiratory function, he said.


soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Banshee

    Ignorance is NOT bliss. Go get an education.

    March 20, 2013 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • someguy

      Well it is in your case... (Smirk)

      March 20, 2013 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
  2. ohyeahnowwhat

    So basically racial differences are more than skin deep. In other news, the sky is blue,

    March 20, 2013 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ricky

      They are adaptations to the environment. Basically, we all just came from the same origin but adapted differently to our surroundings as we started to spread..

      March 20, 2013 at 15:43 | Report abuse |
    • Jamie K

      Um, duh. That's why we also have different skin/hair/eye colors... Adaptations to sun exposure based on where our ancestors lived. I think I learned that in 2nd grade....

      March 20, 2013 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Or basically race is nothing more than variations in environmental and climatic adaptations

      March 20, 2013 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • ronjayaz

      The human race is ONE only. Unique.

      March 20, 2013 at 21:03 | Report abuse |
    • pointless

      In cases like this yes but realistically there is more genetic differences between members of the same so called race than those of different so called races.

      March 21, 2013 at 18:58 | Report abuse |
    • Mary Kay

      When I was in the 7th grade in the mid-70's, my Social Studies teacher asked us why people came in so many different skin colors. I said that one of the reasons was because of the environment our ancestors came from, they developed different skin pigments in order to survive in that area. She read me the riot act, stating that she had black skin and I had white skin but we both were born in the same country, so that made no sense at all. I was embarrassed and just clammed up. I hope she eventually learned there was truth to my answer.

      March 27, 2013 at 15:27 | Report abuse |
  3. bxgrrl

    You mean it's not just genes?

    March 20, 2013 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • 67fra

      depends are they Levi's?

      and before some one replies something smarty yese genes are different than jeans

      March 20, 2013 at 15:14 | Report abuse |
    • DB

      No, it's Levi's!

      March 20, 2013 at 15:27 | Report abuse |
    • jc

      Only if those genes are involved in the production of a nose.

      March 20, 2013 at 15:43 | Report abuse |
    • Emeljay

      Do these "genes" make my butt look big?

      March 20, 2013 at 22:00 | Report abuse |
    • amlowlife

      "Emeljay - Do these "genes" make my butt look big?"

      Yes. And those genes make your nose look big, too...

      March 21, 2013 at 12:10 | Report abuse |
  4. isolate

    The study might have been more pertinent had they used tighter controls. America is a nation of mongrels. A study testing canine mongrels to determine the characteristics of purebreds would be laughed at. Choosing, say, Congolese and Icelandic test subjects would have intensified differences and similarities over a long period of geographic separation.

    March 20, 2013 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lagunalady27

      Hey, some of us are mongrels, but don't assume we all are. After a great deal of family research, we found out, much to our surprise, there has been zero ethnic mixting in our family tree for the past 1990 years. Now, before that, there was a Chinese princess who was married to an Arab prince, for political reasons no doubt. So, my little French looking nose and small sinuses did actually originate in France. Remember, don't assume.

      March 20, 2013 at 20:16 | Report abuse |
    • cjacja

      I think that was the point of using African Americans and South Africans. The researcher wanted a full spectrum. Notice that he selected three not two different population groups

      March 21, 2013 at 01:18 | Report abuse |
  5. Sybaris

    "The various shapes of noses appear to be tied to adaptations to climate,"

    Wow, I distinctly remember reading about this..................40 years ago in my 5th grade Health book.

    Genius!!

    If you're a scientist in need of research dollars just dredge up some 50 year old project and repackage it!!!

    March 20, 2013 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. axel Segura

    See your doctor for the best areas to live based on your nose.

    March 20, 2013 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Bob

    So how much did the goverment give this guy to do this study? No wonder why this country is going broke.

    March 20, 2013 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • evidencepls

      How much does the government give you to sit home and comment on articles while most others are working?

      March 20, 2013 at 14:50 | Report abuse |
    • SB1790

      And how much money do YOU get to comment on comments of other people's articles? I can't divulge how much I get for commenting on commenters comments on commenters, but I can tell you that it's fairly lucrative. Oh, yeah!

      March 20, 2013 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
    • Frankenweenie

      And if his research had discovered a cure for snoring, a non-antibiotic solution to sinus infections, or some other substantial breakthrough?

      You can't disregard pure research just because the results don't have an immediate practical application. The only reason you're able to display your ignorance here is the result of pure research done in the field of quantum mechanics nearly a hundred years ago. Nobody knew what breakthroughs would come about because of their seemingly unimportant discoveries back then, and you have no idea how critical any current research project may be to humanities future.

      No country will ever "go broke" due to the paltry amount of money spent on scientific research, but those countries that refuse to invest in their future by funding projects like this endanger not only themselves, but generations to come.

      March 20, 2013 at 22:52 | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      The government spends it money on a lot less worthy causes than science. There is real value on taking an idea that we assume is true and put it through the scientific paces to be sure are gut feeling is right. Because often things that we take for granted as true, may not be the case, just that it only seemed like that.

      March 21, 2013 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
  8. soma889

    Neanderthals probably had large tall noses. they were also white to absorb more vitamin D from the weak sun and ice age conditions

    March 20, 2013 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Hamlet

    "The fact that we have sinuses seems to allow for this accommodation of variation in nasal shape, which seems to be important, in evolutionary terms, with regard to climatic adaptation," Holton said.

    Gertrude. Why seems it so particular with thee?
    Hamlet. "Seems," madam? Nay, it is; I know not "seems."
    'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
    Nor customary suits of solemn black,
    Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
    No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
    Nor the dejected 'havior of the visage,
    Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
    That can denote me truly: these indeed seem,
    For they are actions that a man might play:
    But I have that within which passeth show;
    These but the trappings and the suits of woe.

    March 20, 2013 at 14:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Camille

    I proverb I once learned says: "He spent the night scratching his beard only to find out that water is "Well, water!!!""

    March 20, 2013 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. pointless

    umm.. why is this being presented like it is a new discovery?

    March 20, 2013 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. zlati

    I am so perplexed..Why is this news??..I truly learned this many many years ago in a basic Anatomy and Physiology course..

    March 20, 2013 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pointless

      That's what I am wondering

      March 20, 2013 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
  13. jon

    The size of the nostril is equivalent to the size of the index finger, the bigger the finger the bigger the nostril, nose pickers...

    March 20, 2013 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SB1790

      I'm sorry. I was typing and didn't see your post. LOL. I wouldn't have posted mine.

      March 20, 2013 at 15:12 | Report abuse |
    • jc

      Could you type that again? There seems to be some sort of greenish-yellowish crust on my monitor...

      March 20, 2013 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
  14. SB1790

    In other news today, scientists have just received a grant to study the correlation between the size of the human index finger versus the size of the opening of the nasal cavity.

    March 20, 2013 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. SB1790

    Ok, so what climate is Michael and Janet Jackson's nose built for?

    March 20, 2013 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ABH12

      Which nose?

      March 20, 2013 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
    • Ajax

      The very rarified climate of the very rich.

      March 21, 2013 at 04:45 | Report abuse |
  16. Curmodgeon

    "Then the Elephant's Child sat down most hard and sudden; but first he was careful to say 'Thank you' to the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake; and next he was kind to his poor pulled nose, and wrapped it all up in cool banana leaves, and hung it in the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo to cool.

    'What are you doing that for?' said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake.

    "Scuse me,' said the Elephant's Child, 'but my nose is badly out of shape, and I am waiting for it to shrink.'

    'Then you will have to wait a long time,' said the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake. 'Some people do not know what is good for them.'"

    Kipling, How The Elephant Got His Nose

    March 20, 2013 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. filo bedo

    Fool! That's where you came from one mother. People migrated and adapted to the surroundings. Stop eating paint chips it will make you racist.

    March 20, 2013 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Joey

    Um, this close to adding CNN to the "boycott faux journalism list" (which Faux News currently tops) and getting all my "news" from NPR.

    March 20, 2013 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. art

    I knew it Caucasians have more snot.

    March 20, 2013 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. InFormed

    Most biologists and anthropologists consider a 'race' to be somewhat outdated and overused term, since race has no actual clear definition. Where does one race begin and one end? Considering Europe, starting from the west and moving east, humans display an almost infinite range of genetic adaptations and diversity in response to environmental and societal pressures. So it is almost impractical to talk of race as being a well defined classification. Even two people who most would consider of the same 'race' have such diverse structural and genetic diversity that they are only similar at the superficial level.

    March 20, 2013 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ronjayaz

      "Race" to describe humans is totally inaccurate anthropologically since the definition of "race" given by one of the Huxleys blew my mind as a university student in the 50s. He defined "race" as the ability to produce offspring. Dogs and cats are different "races" obviously. Humans produce offspring regardless of the ETHNICITY, which is really the cultural expression of humans. We are ONE RACE. The accidents of climate changed our facial features and color. Long noses in cold climates prevents the frigid air from reaching the lungs, long noses "defrost" the air. Contrarily, in hot climates such as equatorial Africa no friction is necessary & a flat nose means faster lung ingestion of air. Also, it may be Y African runners win marathons because they have a shorter double-breathing ingestion.

      March 20, 2013 at 19:07 | Report abuse |
  21. Festivusfortherestofus

    The European version appears to have some similarities with the Predator creature.

    March 20, 2013 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. FreeUsFromObama

    Now I know why Obama has his in the air all the time.

    March 20, 2013 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jim atmad

      What are you? Nine years old? Grow up or get a life.

      March 20, 2013 at 21:29 | Report abuse |
  23. Rossi

    The nose knows...

    March 20, 2013 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Cricket

    Interesting article until it threw in the irrelevant evolution BS.
    Makes about as much sense as saying "seems to be important, in terms of intelligent design for climactic related requirements"
    Nobody knows how all this stuff came about.

    March 20, 2013 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • really?

      The maxillary sinus cavity within the skull shows up well in preserved specimens throughout the fossil record. That's right, there's actual evidence that even you may examine across the 150,000 or so years of human history. Bring a snack. It will take a while. Besides, nobody knows how life started, only approximately when. It may have been spontaneous, it may have been planted. It definitely evolved along the way and continues to evolve. Look at the evidence for yourself if you don't like the conclusion. You pastor won't be able to offer you any evidence to support their assertions.

      March 20, 2013 at 19:20 | Report abuse |
  25. charlie

    if obamas is in the air all the time ....guess where the reps are? up rush's aho and sniffing like mad

    March 20, 2013 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Yucking it up

    Adaptation to snorting coke results in a singular BIG Nostril.

    March 20, 2013 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RichC

    If a narrow nose shape confers an evolutionary advantage (ie. survival to child-bearing age) in cold climates then why aren't African and African-American tourists dropping dead when they visit Europe or other cold climates? Does it make any sense that people die before child-bearing age just because their nose shape isn't optimally adapted to the climate??? I mean how many people in the history of humanity would have died because nature didn't like their nose shape? Ridiculous. I believe in evolution too, but sometimes the scientists just go too far. You can't just attribute every human trait to natural evolution. There are other explanations for genetic changes. Sometimes it's sexual selection. Our mates choose us for our physical characteristics, we have children, the traits are passed on, simple. Sometimes traits are piggybacking on other more important traits if they're linked to the same chromosome. It's not always the climate doing the selection. Next they will tell us that nature confers an evolutionary advantage to straight hair over curly hair.

    March 20, 2013 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lori

      ..actually, curly hair enhances air circulation and helps the body keep cooler in extreme high temperatures and protects certain people from excessive heat/UV of places like Africa. It's even possible that the trait developed in some European areas (think Irish curls) to protect and cool. I think that's stuff we learned back in school along with the story above, which has suddenly become 'breaking news'

      March 20, 2013 at 18:37 | Report abuse |
    • really?

      Tourists don't drop dead when they visit scandinavia, etc. because people, these days, wear COATS and have the benefit of heated structures and transportation.

      Nose shape, like everything else, is driven by selective pressure(s). They may be climatactic, mate preference or physiological in other ways. I think mate preference is a relatively new concept as pre-farming/property cultures were small groups of people and what you saw was what you got. That's why there are so many men out there with small, collapsible equipment. Nobody selected FOR that feature. Women got what they got.

      March 20, 2013 at 19:29 | Report abuse |
  28. Raine

    Couple had a baby....it was apparent within a few month that this kid had some honker....the husband could not figure out why.....turns out his wife had plastic surgery as a young teen to make her nose ALOT smaller.....

    March 20, 2013 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Nancy Jane

    Not everyone knows this – I went to school in the 1950s and it wasn't taught - probably because it was not known back then. I learned it on the Learning Channel, though, and was tickled pink to learn that all of our female ancestors - all of our mitochondrial DNA - can be traced back to the same very black female deep in Africa. We all came from the same very black woman of ancient origin. I wish there was a way to make all the skinheads, neo-nazis, KKK members and other bigots well aware of this. We can all be proud (and astonished!) at this, everyone except those fools. I learned it takes 20,000 years for the darkest pigmented skin to become the palest white skin of the far north climates. God is awesome!

    March 20, 2013 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ronjayaz

      NATURE is awesome!

      March 20, 2013 at 19:11 | Report abuse |
    • steve

      my blood and dna is clean thank you

      March 20, 2013 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
    • spudly

      hate to tell you this, but 100,000 years ago Africa was not as hot as now and the Sahara desert was a tropical moderate temp type forest and grassland. Ice ages have taken up more of the last 150,000 years than what we see in recent history. Therefore it is unlikely that africans looked like africans 100,000 years ago. They think the major 'races' evolved only in the last 50,000 years.
      If you had to live outdoors with only a cave or dug-in shack to keep you warm, and spending all your free time outside finding food, you can see how a very cold environment would lead to different looking people. the eskimos also live this way but have small noses. interesting. it could also be they've only lived that way for 5,000 years and the adaptations we're talking about here occurred over 10X that time with harsher conditions (real Ice Age)
      then there are the asian eyes and epicanthic folds...also an adaptation to Ice Age conditions in asia to prevent snow-blindness.

      March 20, 2013 at 20:54 | Report abuse |
  30. Sir Lord

    Furthermore, DO remember that genetics DOES play a key role in the shape of one's nose as the environment can also be the so-called contributing factor to several things that we are exposed to on a daily basis!

    March 20, 2013 at 19:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Ajax

    Imagine going back in time and while standing up on an apple crate, explaining this kind of anthropological variation and the biological and environmental reasons it came about to a lynch mob in Missisippi or Alabama in 1935 or 1965 and take note on how quickly you are decorating the tree next to that black member of your species. If this kind of edification was truly pertinent to most people the world would be a different kind of world.

    March 20, 2013 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • peridot2

      Ajax, if we happened to be holding a couple of AK47s or Uzis, we might be able to get their attention long enough to disseminate the information. Of course, there would be a whole lot of denial, ignorance and lack of education to overcome back then. Still, wouldn't it be lovely to have the chance to overcome all that stupidity, arrogance and ignorance?

      I'm in. To the TARDIS!

      March 20, 2013 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
  32. Pariah Jones

    If there are visual differences between the races then why is it impossible that there are also psychological differences?

    March 20, 2013 at 21:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • peridot2

      The same pigment makes blue eyes blue, green eyes green and brown eyes brown. The sole difference in the colour is the amount of pigment in the iris of the eye: the more there is makes the difference in colour. We are all the same.

      It's the same pigment in our skin, melanin, that makes our skin tone colours: pale, cream, beige, tan, brown, black. You quibble over different concentrations of the identical substance. We are all the same.

      Why are you so desperate? Slice open the skin of any one of us and what do you see? We all bleed the same red blood cells. We have identical internal organs. We die in the same ways. We are all the same.

      There is no superiority to be discovered nor any inferiority, if that's what you're desperate to discover. We are all the same, in the skin and beneath. Racism is an outmoded attempt to feel superior based on white people on top and everyone of colour underneath with the darkest people on bottom. That doesn't work these days.

      In case you were wondering, I'm one of those people who would be at the top of the heap if people were judged by the colour of their skin. The only people whiter than me are albinos. I was born this way. I wish that I had more melanin. I have a dermatology file 3 inches thick with skin cancer records. So what, I'm white. Big deal. I'm much prouder of my intellect, with which I was born. I'm prouder of my education which *I* acquired, but still I didn't do on my own. I had teachers, professors and assistance with that as well.

      We none of us have anything to do with the colour of our skin. There's zero point in being proud of that. Anyone who is qualifies as sad in my book. I'm dead chuffed that my eyes are chartreuse (yellow-green) but I had nothing to do with the outcome. It's an accident of my birth that my eyes were the same colour as those of my adopted father. A lovely coincidence that I looked like him, nothing more. He's gone nearly 3 decades but it meant a lot to me when I was wee.

      March 20, 2013 at 22:27 | Report abuse |
  33. Gel-Atin

    So no one cares about Asians or their noses.

    March 20, 2013 at 21:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Pierre - Westmount

    Who "nose" best – Jimmy Durante or, W.C. Fields?

    March 20, 2013 at 22:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. chuckster

    It just goes to show we all came from the same original parents, Adam and Eve. When cast outside the garden of Eden humans begin to multiply and spread throughout the earth and their bodies had to adapt to the different climates in order to survive. However, their was no need for our bodies to change on the inside which is why we all look the same on the inside. Only the outside had to adopt and change to the climate and environment.

    March 20, 2013 at 22:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thermal Rider

      Let me understand this... People didn't evolve from chimp-like primates over millions of years, but came from Adam and Eve. Yet two (!) people generated enough variation to evolve into all the huge diversity of humans we see in just 6,000 years!?!?! What irony. If Adam and Eve could evolve into the whole variation we see today, including Watusi, Pygmy, Austrailian Aboriginals, Eskimos, Tierra Del Fuegans and my tall, square-jawed, red-headed Scandinavian ancestors (and everything in between) in just 6,000 years, then evolution must be far more powerful than scientists argue! Wow. Just Wow. Talk about undermining the arguments of one's own side!

      April 2, 2013 at 17:04 | Report abuse |
  36. Karen Saucedo

    "The various shapes of noses appear to be tied to adaptations to climate, Holton said. The nose must properly heat and humidify the air that you breathe. In a cold climate, it's advantageous to have a narrower nose."

    OK...Now, that's interesting. I would never have guessed that!

    March 20, 2013 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Steve "the nose" knows

    How come when I read the CNN comments section my nose gets bent out of shape?

    March 20, 2013 at 23:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Jack Watcher

    Thank you peridot2 for an unusually well said comment. I wish these discussions were carried out in a similar vein. You spoke truth.

    March 21, 2013 at 00:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Jack Watcher

    Thank you pridot2 for you excellent comment. You spoke the truth. I wish everyone commenting on these sites comported themselves similarly.

    March 21, 2013 at 00:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. BO

    Next week CNN will probably run a story explaining why there are different bra sizes.

    March 21, 2013 at 05:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Jack

    Ah, so the truth is out. There is more to race than just skin color. I've known this since college paleontology classes, having actually studied the bones of ancient and more recent humans. There is more to racial differences than the media would let on, because they don't want to offend anyone. This is akin to the fact that the frontal lobes of Africans are 13% smaller in African populations than Asian and European populations.

    March 21, 2013 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jazz648

      It's a distinction without a difference.

      March 21, 2013 at 21:03 | Report abuse |
    • flopflopflop

      I'd tend to agree. There are absolutely differences. I tend to thing there was less evolution (because there was less of a need) for Africans. They were always in the same climate with the same conditions and same enemies. Where as people in other places has more of a need to adapt to colder weather or different game, or whatever.

      Today, most differences are cultural though. We're all the same to a point. In america at least, the black community has it's own culture and the white people have their own culture. These two do intersect and overlap but black people definitely act different than white people. Different accent, different speech patterns, just different. That's not universal but there is a tendency toward it.

      March 22, 2013 at 01:53 | Report abuse |
  42. drinker75

    Hasn't this been known for a long time?

    March 21, 2013 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. gstlab3

    I think this obviously shows us that we are not of the same common ancestor no matter what the DNA or genes tell us.

    We are designed to live in certain places and in certain ways and what we have today with our huge societal problems can mostly be blamed on ignoring the simple facts staring us in the face.

    Some peoples are not meant to live in these huge modern city or urban areas working 9-5 and let's face it some people are better at hunting for prey and killing it just like in the south and west side of Chicago shows us all to often.

    I say evolve and get along or die.

    March 21, 2013 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jazz648

      Your logic is as deep as the water trapped in a bottle cap, as is your understanding of genetics, anthropology and biology. The article is not about the sociology of nose shapes. No one wants to "evolve" to your so-called level that is nothing more than a misguided notion of superiority. Get over yourself; your post tells me you are bloated from being so full of yourself.

      March 21, 2013 at 20:59 | Report abuse |
  44. Nick

    It's call evolutuion. I don't need an article to figure this out just a 6th grade education..

    March 21, 2013 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. jazz648

    My eldest son's undergraduate major is anthropology (he is now a lawyer). He was writing a paper for a class and I happened to read a source article he had selected which simply stated that races that lived in warm climates have wider, flatter noses than those in colder climes because those races have longer, sharper noses due to the nostrils having to "warm up" colder air when breathing in and out. People in tropical areas developed their nose shapes because their nostrils had to "flare out" warm air instead of routing it upwards in order to warm it up before expelling it.

    March 21, 2013 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. bro

    I know a guy who's nose is flat cause he wouldn't shut up

    March 21, 2013 at 20:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Brett Husserl

    I guess mouth breathers pass on genes that lead to wider mouths,,,

    March 21, 2013 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Odalice Feliz

    we are all humans.

    March 31, 2013 at 02:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Brandon

    Eskimos have wide noses his theory is invalid

    April 2, 2014 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. John

    why are the great boxers? because they have wide noses? Confused.....

    March 20, 2013 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.